Egypt’s communications minister Yasser al Kadi confirmed 4G frequencies are now ready for use, with launch of services approaching following lengthy delays.
Speaking to Reuters, Kadi said the government had completed preparations for the transfer of 4G frequencies to operators, after selling four licences in a 2016 auction.
“We are now ready to hand over 4G mobile frequencies to any company that is ready,” he said, adding: “We are waiting for companies to finish preparations to receive the frequencies.”
Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat and Orange Egypt signed deals with the country’s regulator to acquire 4G licences in October 2016, while state-owned Telecom Egypt also plans to launch 4G within a year of receiving its licence.
However, the process was far from smooth, with Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat and Orange Egypt initially rejecting the terms of the auction because they believed it did not offer sufficient spectrum, while also contesting conditions which required 50 per cent of the total licence cost to be paid in US dollars.
All three operators refused to participate in the auction before the issue was resolved. Orange Egypt also reportedly agreed to pay half the licence fee in dollars.
The launch of 4G in the country forms part of the government’s long-term plan to reform the country’s telecoms sector and raise cash for the state. Kadi said after the auction the sector had raised $1.1 billion, and an additional $1.13 billion for the state budget.